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Alleged smuggling of Peruvian maca planting stock to China

  • Alleged smuggling of Peruvian maca planting stock to China

    by Market Insider

    Monday, 28 Jul. 2014

    Maca (Lepidium meyenii) is an important medicinal plant crop for Peruvian export of value added ingredients and products. Native to the high Andes of Peru, domestication of maca is estimated to have begun at least 2,000 years ago in the Junín Plateau. Up until recently, maca was supplied to the global market mainly from Peruvian farmers.
    In news reports this week Alejandra Velazco, President of the Natural Product Committee of the Peruvian Association of Exporters (ADEX), stated that that a large number of Chinese buyers have been present in Peru this summer making advance cash payments directly with maca farmers but informally without proper transaction and export documentation, evading taxes and violating other Peruvian laws concerning maca. While maca generally represents about 33% of Peru’s natural products exports, if the unregulated exports are not stopped this year’s maca export trade data may be skewed by as much as 50% of current year projection. A 14 minute interview with Velazco on this topic from TV Perú 7.3 is available on the ADEX homepage at:

    Furthermore it is alleged that the Chinese buyers are purchasing viable planting stock in the form of unprocessed whole maca hypocotyls and seeds, presumably for the purpose of transplanting in China. An alert has been issued to Peruvian customs regarding this informal cash trade and illegal export. Under Peruvian law it is illegal to export raw unprocessed whole maca that could be viable for planting elsewhere, i.e. some value-adding processing must occur in Peru prior to export such as drying and powdering or extracting.

    Velazco also emphasized that the export of unprocessed raw material is adversely affecting Peruvian jobs that would normally be employed this time of year in post harvest value-addition.

    The news also reached North America this week as the Nutraceuticals International Group®, one the main importers and traders of maca ingredients in the United States, put out press releases and tweets alerting their customers that Chinese buyers are presently buying maca direct from Peruvian farmers well above market price. Their press release goes on to state:

    'This demand from China goes hand in hand with the illegal handling of the product, whereby whole Maca (root) is being exported. This is prohibited by law, which classifies this act as a form of smuggling across borders and is an affront to Peruvian customs.'

    The Nutraceuticals press release also provides a link to the referenced Peruvian regulation (DECRETO SUPREMO Nº 039-2003-AG) of the Peruvian Ministry of Justice.


    ADEX Channel. Entrevista a Alejandra Velazco en TV Perú 7.3. Julio 2014: 
    Adex alerta compra ilegal de toneladas de maca de chinos. 23 de Junio 2014:

    Exportación de derivados de maca cerraría el año con caída de 50%. 01 Julio 2014:

    Demands for maca have dramatically increased. Nutraceuticals International Group® Newsletter. 22 July 2014:

    Sistema Peruano de Información Jurídica (SPIJ). DECRETO SUPREMO Nº 039-2003-AG:

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